Monday Mornings with Madison

Make Your Business Stand Out, Part 1

Word Count: 1,444
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

As the economy continues to languish due to the pandemic, it’s been harder for some companies to survive and thrive than others.  In part, that’s because the pandemic has affected some industries more than others.   Obviously, online retailers are faring better than brick and mortar stores.  And the pharmaceutical industry is definitely doing better than the travel and hospitality industries.  That said, some companies have pivoted and found ways to differentiate or reinvent themselves to meet the current challenge.  But, regardless of how the economy is doing, there is always a need for companies to stand apart.  Companies that have found a way to truly differentiate themselves in the marketplace will usually fare far better than those who are in fiercely competitive markets.

As any business owner can attest, competition can push companies to do better and be better, but fierce competition can also be crushing.  While most companies have some competitors, some companies have more competition than others.  In part, how they’ve managed to differentiate or reinvent themselves in the marketplace determines how well they do.  A key part of staying in business long-term is finding a way to stand apart from others in the same space. Continue reading

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The Price We Pay: Rethinking Price, Cost and Value

Nothing worth having is ever handed over for free.  Indeed, how much is paid for anything should factor in its perceived value, not just how much it costs to produce or how much a competitor is charging for it.  Really, that should be the last sentence in this article.  That is the take-away.  But, for many companies, value is not factored into the price.  That often means they leave money on the table.

To better understand the relationship of value, price and cost, let’s start by defining these terms.  Cost is the easiest to understand.  Cost is the aggregate monetary amount needed to produce and deliver a product or service.  It is the amount spent to make and provide goods or assistance.  Cost is a numerical calculation determined by the producer based on what is paid for materials, labor and overhead.  So cost is what the company pays in order to create.  For example, an architecture firm pays for the time, expertise and equipment of the architects employed to design structures, as well as the office space, benefits, ongoing training, etc.  Those are the hard and soft costs related to designing a building.

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Business and the Plot Twist

Word Count: 1,299
Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

Being able to deal with plot twists in business has become the indispensable skill for long-term business survival in every environment, but especially in times of economic and political crisis. Every independent professional, business executive, manager and business owner must be able to deal with the proverbial plot twist…. the unanticipated event or scenario that forces a radical change in direction or outcome. The unexpected has always occurred, and business leaders have always had to deal with it, but this type of resilience is more important than ever for several reasons.

First, the world is in a transitional period, politically, economically, culturally and technologically. Business is becoming increasingly global in both structure and operations.  Culturally, America is close to becoming a “minority majority” nation, resulting in a diverse and less-predictable culture. And technologically, every process and business is being disrupted by machines and artificial intelligence. Continue reading

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Stop Hoping: Make 2021 a Great Year

Word Count: 1,612
Estimated Read Time: 7 min.

It’s been said that perception is reality.  But what is interesting is that we are able to control our perception of things.  How we look at things is a choice.  We are each able to control our perception or viewpoint of things as well as our attitude or how we feel about it, and how we respond to it.

Some think that perception and attitude are one and the same.  They’re not.  The difference between perception and attitude is that perception is the use of the mind and/or senses to comprehend or understand one’s surroundings.  Perception is about awareness and assessment.  Not just seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking… but assessing the input received and then evaluating or estimating the nature, ability or quality of that information. Continue reading

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One Thing to Improve in 2021: Consistency

Word Count: 1,828
Estimated Read Time: 7 min.

According to the dictionary, to be consistent is “to stay, be or look the same or do the same thing at different times over a period of time, especially so as to be fair or accurate.”  It is to be free from variation or contradiction.  In short, consistency is to be unwavering, unfailing, regular, and stable.  To be able to do anything consistently is actually quite an achievement.  For most people, it is one of the hardest things to do and be.  But why? Continue reading

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Watch What You Say…. To Others – Part 2

Word Count: 1,343
Estimated Read Time: 5 ½ min.

Speak with Caution

Motivational speaker Tony Robbins once said, “Throughout human history, our greatest leaders and thinkers have used the power of words to transform our emotions, to enlist us in their causes, and to shape the course of destiny. Words cannot only create emotions, they create actions. And from our actions flow the results of our lives.” Indeed, words have power…. to uplift, but also to destroy.  Therefore, it is wise to be mindful when it comes to the spoken word.  A string of words that may not mean much to the speaker but could stick with the receiver for a lifetime.  This is true in all settings, whether personal or professional.  But when it comes to business, it makes for good dollars and sense to speak with caution.

Everyone has to communicate sensitive or potentially painful information at some point at work.  In business, it likely happens more often than in non-profit and charitable workplaces, but it happens everywhere to everyone.  And, while it’s important to speak truthfully, it is just as important to speak with tact.  Tact allows us to be honest, while respecting a person’s feelings.  Tactful communication allows people to preserve relationships, build credibility, and demonstrate thoughtfulness. Continue reading

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Watch What You Say…. To Yourself – Part 1

Word Count: 1,620
Estimated Read Time: 6 ½ min.

The Science behind Self-Talk

We’ve all heard the saying, “Sticks and stones can hurt my bones, but words can never harm me.”  That is a response that kids are taught as a way to refute and ignore name-calling and other unkind talk by children.  However, it is now understood that words can and do hurt people, perhaps as much as sticks or stones.  So most children are taught at home and at school – from an early age — to watch what they say to others.  Adults know that there are consequences for being rude, harsh, insulting or unkind to others.

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Why Employee Age Doesn’t Matter

Word Count: 1,748
Estimated Read Time: 7 min.

There are many preconceived ideas related to age, especially as it relates to employees.  Ask anyone who is 18 years old and they will complain about the challenges of finding a first job because they lack experience. They may have skills, drive and determination, but no one will hire them so they can gain said experience.  Conversely, ask anyone who is 58 about finding employment as they near so-called “retirement age”, and they will share sad tales of how ageism is alive and well in the workplace.  The problem is that if 18 is too young and 58 is too old, then employers are left with a prospective work force that is narrow… and shrinking. Continue reading

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What Leadership Isn’t

Word Count: 1,725
Estimated Read Time: 7 min.

Ask 100 people what constitutes leadership.  You are bound to get 100 different answers.  To prove the point, here are 100 traits that most would agree are fundamental to leadership. Continue reading

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Getting the Most from LinkedIn Engagement in 2021 – Part 2

Word Count: 1,327
Estimated Read Time: 5 ½ min.

In just 18 years since inception, LinkedIn has amassed over 706 Million users worldwide in over 200 countries and 24 languages.  There are 346 million male users and 360 million female users.  Of those, over 260 million are monthly active users.  Geographically, the breakdown of the top five countries with the most users on LinkedIn is:

  • U.S. – 171 million+ LinkedIn users
  • India – 69 million+ LinkedIn users
  • China – 51 million+ LinkedIn users
  • Brazil – 45 million+ LinkedIn users
  • Great Britain – 29 million+ LinkedIn users

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